The hit TV show The Last of Us is taking the world by storm. It’s about a pandemic, but a very different one from the what we are experiencing now. It’s about a fungus that evolves to infect humans, and then mushroom heads run at exorbitant speeds trying to infect other humans.
I’m pretty concerned about Cordyceps and its ability to infect and commandeer other organisms, leading to zombie-like behavior. Some would argue this was frighteningly on display at the State of the Union Address, where multiple lawmakers uncontrollably screamed and menaced the President. Only Bernie Sanders wore an N95 mask, so the entire Congress has been exposed. About a year ago a similar but more violent phenomenon was witnessed outside the U.S. capitol building, with many injuries and a few fatalities reported.
I’ll look forward to watching this show, thanks for the scientific framework!
Also, a newer antifungal called ibrexafungerp (Brexafemme) has been FDA approved for candidal vaginitis, and shows great fungicidal promise against drug resistant C. auris. It has struggled to find market share as a medicine for yeast infections, but may be deployed more in the near future against resistant strains like you’ve mentioned here.
As far as efficacy against hyper-partisan, unhinged behaviors -I do not know.
Anyone enjoying this show should read “The Girl with all The Gifts” by MR Carey (or better yet listen, the narration by Finty Williams is incredible)
After the The Earth Abides this is my favorite Post Apocalyptic novel of all time.
I have been reading that some of the antifungal resistance we are seeing within healthcare could be from use or overuse of antifungal agents on our crops to get rid of plant fungi that affect the production or quality. Much the same as antibiotic resistance from use in animals to enhance growth.
Katelina, when I was in Med school (graduated 1978) I had a diabetic patient who died of fungal sinusitis. We did't know that, of course, until after the post. However, is it still true that diabetics are especially subject to fungal infections, more so when their blood sugar control is poor?
A very frightening post, thank you Dr Jetelina! Before "The Last of Us", there was "World War Z", with Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, and before that "Contagion", by Steven Soderbergh, which in retrospect looks like a rehearsal for the Sars-Cov-2 pandemic. Add to that the melting of permafrost, which could release (potentially) million-year-old pathogens trapped in ice, the global climate change, which could expand tropical diseases or/and create new ones, and dangerous lab experiences without proper safety protocols (see the ongoing controversy about the Wuhan Lab). It seems the human being is a virus to himself, ultimately leading to his own annihilation. It's not too late to act, but time is running out.
Well, that was fun. I hadn't heard of this show, and now I am wondering if it would be a good diversion or too frightening.
I haven’t seen this TV show yet after reading your fun write up, I will check it out. The premise reminds me a little of a fabulous fungus apocalypse book called “The Girl with all the Gifts” by MR Carey.
I love that I can share this with my college students who are taking microbiology. It's fun to tie learning into the show that many watch! Thank you!
Thanks. Now that I know what it's about I have been saved the trouble of watching it. It may, indeed, be a fine example of apocalypse fiction. But the real world is apocalyptic enough right now, thanks. I don't need more dystopia than I already get from a few minutes on my Facebook news feed. :-)
Yeah, but seriously: very informative on a topic about which I am knowing from nothing.
Interesting read as usual, is it possible that phage's are useful in fungal infections?
Late to the party again but am I the only one who finds prion diseases the most concerning for our future? Completely terrifying and growing cases every year. CWD's grow in animal populations is alarming to say the least in the past few decades. At least with fungus we have some ability to destroy them. Not so with prion diseases beyond incineration(which is impractical should a mass outbreak occur).
Was very happy to hear one of my favorite musicians - Agnes Opel - with the closing credits!
2 min ago
Second season of the TV show:
467 uninfected humans are living precariously in 20 plastic bubbles on the moon, while the fungus has changed Earth's atmosphere to pure carbon dioxide (picture a creepy pulsing grey-violet cloud cover).
Water has been found at the lunar poles, and plastic bubbles are being erected purely for raising grains and vegetables.
To the horror of the humans, some of the seeds show evidence of fungal spores......
<<end of Episode 1>>
Fun post. We forwarded it to our kids who are devoted fans of the show. I had avoided it but maybe will give it a try now!